Match Reports

Skipper strikes but Albion are held

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Dunk header cancelled out in the second half at Turf Moor.

By Bruce Talbot • 06 February 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
Lewis Dunk runs over to the man who setup his third goal of the campaign.
  • Burnley 1 Albion 1

There was no third win in a week for Albion as Burnley hit back to earn a share of the spoils at soggy Turf Moor.

Skipper Lewis Dunk put his side in front with his third goal in 11 games when he headed home a first-half corner by the king of assists Pascal Gross.

But Rob Sanchez conceded their first Premier League goal for 458 minutes when Johann Gudmundsson equalised nine minutes after the break and the Spanish stopper made several fine saves to preserve the point.

What happened...

There were three changes which had enjoyed that famous midweek win at Anfield. Joel Veltman and Alexis Mac Allister returned after injury and Aaron Connolly, who scored the winner at Turf Moor in July, also came in. Solly March dropped out through injury while Leandro Trossard and Steven Alzate dropped to the bench, with Danny Welbeck also among the subs after nine games out.

By Paul Hazlewood
Alexis Mac Allister was back in the line-up after missing out on the mid-week win at Anfield through injury.

Albion started like a team in confident mood. Neal Maupay glanced Joel Veltman's cross wide and they won three corners in the first 15 minutes without testing Nick Pope.

Gross drove a free kick, from a good position on the right-hand edge of the box, well wide after Ben Mee brought down Maupay but Albion needed Rob Sanchez to be at his best when the hosts enjoyed a good spell.

Dwight McNeil nearly profited when he fired a free kick under the two-man wall but Sanchez saved at his near post before producing an excellent reaction stop to deny James Tarkowski after McNeil's free kick found its way to the far post.

Ashley Barnes smashed the ball well over from an inviting position on the edge of the box and Jack Cork was similarly wasteful, lifting his effort over the bar after Matt Lowton set him up.

But on 36 minutes Albion broke the deadlock with a fine header by the skipper, who outjumped Tarkowski from Gross' out-swinging corner on the right and powered a downward header inside the left-hand post. It was the German's 19th Premier League assist – only three German players have more.

Aaron Connolly nearly doubled the lead, but Pope sprung to his left to push away a shot that was heading inside the post before Sanchez, far busier in the first half than he had been for 90 minutes at Anfield, stood tall to block McNeil's powerful drive.

Early in the second half the industrious Connolly found himself in a similar position where he scored last season, but this time, with his right foot, he flashed his shot wide of the far post. The Irishman was sent clear a few moments later by Yves Bissouma's pass and outpaced Mee but couldn't keep his effort on target.

Albion had started the second half strongly, but on 54 minutes Burnley levelled. Sanchez did well to parry Erik Pieters' blast but the loose ball was driven low into the corner from the edge of the box by Gudmundsson.

By Paul Hazlewood
Rob Sanchez was a busy man at Turf Moor.

Ashley Barnes was denied by Dunk's expertly-timed tackle in the box and the former Albion loanee had a header disallowed for offside and with an hour gone the home side looked more likely to score the next goal.

Graham Potter made a double change when he introduced Trossard and Welbeck with Ben White pushing into midfield but they needed Sanchez to be at his most alert again when he smothered Matej Vydra's close-range effort with 20 minutes to go.

Albion were forced into another reshuffle when Adam Webster limped off with an ankle injury and both sides looked weary in the closing stages, but seven points from three games is a terrific week's work by Potter's men.

Albion: Sanchez, Veltman, Webster (Lallana 75), Dunk, White, Burn, Bissouma, Gross, Mac Allister, Connolly (Welbeck 62), Maupay (Trossard 62).

Subs: Walton, Karbownik, Moder, Alzate, Tau, Zeqiri.

Referee: Anthony Taylor